Joanne Jamis Cain is a steward of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. She has been married to the love of her life, Jim for thirty five years. They have two beautiful children and two grandchildren. Joanne is a wedding and event planner. Visit her blog at http://katherinesdaughter.com/. Her first book "Ordinary Is Extraordinary" was published in spring of 2016.
In this day and age, it can be hard to live a life of honesty and kindness. It is for this purpose that I love the Virgin Mary and the example she sets for us.
We are human and make mistakes. Upsetting other people, doing dishonest things, and behaving in a not-so-nice manner are daily temptations. Taking our time, loving others, and being patient are the qualities I try to practice. It’s not easy. When Mary found she was pregnant with our Lord and Savior, she said, “For behold, henceforth, all generations will call me blessed.” (Luke 1:48).
What if we felt blessed every single day? How would our attitude change about ourselves? How would this affect how we treat others?
We should try to remember how special we are. If we have a gift or talent, we should use it to create a better world. We can love others more because we feel secure in God’s love for us. Think of yourself as blessed, and watch how your life will change.
What if we love being right? Sometimes, I find it hard to admit that I don’t know all the answers. I practice deferring to others but this is difficult for me. I like the gratification that comes from knowledge and the feeling of power that creates. At the wedding of Cana, Mary was with Jesus for His first miracle. If you recall, they ran out of wine at the feast. Mary brought this to Jesus’ attention. She didn’t try to fix it herself! Jesus even said to his mother, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with me?” (John 2: 4) “She said to the servants, Whatever He says to you, do it.” (John 2:5) Jesus makes delicious wine out of water for all to taste.
What if we allowed others the dignity of doing for themselves? What if we believe in them, raise them up with our words, and then give them the chance to succeed? This is especially true for parents and their children. We should love and protect our young ones, but also help them realize their strengths. If we encourage them in their growth, they will do miraculous things.
How can we help ourselves and others? I am currently the primary caregiver to my 89-year-old mother. It is a daily sacrifice to make myself available, assisting mom with whatever she needs, and doing this with love and patience. When our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was on the cross, “He said, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple (John) took her to his own home.” (John 19: 26-27). Mary had raised Jesus in the eyes of God, and it was her turn to be taken care of. I love how Jesus knew that His mother would need to be cared for, and He wanted to make sure she would be. Mary was willing to be with someone she knew would watch over her.
During the fast for the Dormition of the Theotokos (August 15), it is important for us to remember the example that our beloved Theotokos set for us. If we emulate and pray to her, we will be an example for others around us. And the joy and blessedness this will bring to our own life is immeasurable.
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